Although it may be tempting to rely on cold noodles and takeout when temperatures rise, this isn't the best way to combat natsubate — fatigue brought on by the heat and humidity of summer.

Instead, eating small amounts of nutritionally dense yet balanced foods at regular time periods can help keep Japan’s summer doldrums at bay. B vitamins are especially important for combatting fatigue, and it's one of the reasons why thiamine-rich unagi (eel) is traditionally eaten on Doyo no Ushi no Hi (Day of the Ox), which falls on July 24 this year.

If unagi isn’t your thing, oily fish like sanma (Pacific saury), saba (mackerel) and aji (horse mackerel) are great alternatives, but if seafood is off the table entirely, don’t fret: Pork, the other white meat, is also a great source of natsubate-busting thiamine. Add in some acid in the form of some kurozu (black vinegar) and a side salad with summer veggies and you have yourself the making of a meal to take the edge off the sweltering summer to come.